When many people think of debt management, they think of rearranging their budget so that they can pay off debts. But there is more to it than that. In fact, debt management is most effective when it’s done before debts get out of hand.
Managing debt successfully is nothing more than maintaining debts at a safe and controllable level. People who manage their debt well do not accept more debt than they know that they can reasonably handle. The balances on their credit cards will be paid off every month and they will save money to finish paying for loans quickly.
How to Manage Debt
* Find a good interest rate when going into debt for essential purchases like a car or house so that your interest payments will stay low. Loans can be paid off before it is necessary if, on a monthly basis, you pay more than your payment plan requires.
* Remember that all credit cards are not the same and consider several options before choosing one. Consider details like annual fees, interest rates, and cash back offers.
* Limit your credit cards to one or two. The more credit cards you have, the more temptation you will face. If you are managing your debt properly, you won’t need more than two cards anyway.
* Refrain from getting cash advances. These usually carry a higher interest rate than regular purchases. If you need cash in an emergency and must get an advance, paying it back as quickly as possible will minimize the charges.
When debt gets out of hand
Knowing when debt has gotten completely out of hand is an important part of managing debt. It is much more difficult to get debt under control if you don’t realize you have a debt problem until it has become serious. Taking necessary steps as soon as debt begins to rise too much will help you keep your finances under control.
You know that your debt is getting out of hand if:
* Paying the minimum monthly payment has become difficult.
* You make everyday purchases with credit cards and leave a running balance on your account.
* Your monthly payments are less than your total monthly charges.
* You are close to reaching your credit limit.
If you find that you are heading toward too much debt, taking action quickly could save you a lot of trouble – as well as a lot of money. By recognizing the early signs of debt overload and paying debt off as quickly as possible, you could regain control over your finances before you know it.